Manchester Food and Drink Festival enters its 20th year

It’s here again! The Manchester Food & Drink Festival (MFDF) start’s tomorrow (28 September – 9 October).

IT’S the UK’s largest urban food and drink festival and it’s celebrating its 20th anniversary year.

There will be a whole host of food, drink and events (more than 100) taking over the city centre and the surrounding districts of Greater Manchester.

In fact, there are 252 partners including chefs, brewers, authors, street food traders, wine merchants, restaurants, cafes, art galleries, forgotten railways, community groups, pubs, bars and food foragers.

The centrepiece is the Festival Hub on Albert Square, where a huge free pop up food village is to be built. This will become the city’s very own food and drink neighbourhood for 11 jam-packed days.

The Hub will be open from 12noon – 11pm daily and will feature street food, an indie beer festival, gin, wine, chefs, masterclasses, pop up restaurants, live music and more.

As well as the Hub there’s banquets in forgotten railway arches; fine dining extravaganzas in some of the city’s most glamourous restaurants; wine festivals; cocktail safaris; gin trails; food entrepreneur workshops; rustic basque banquets; ‘Manchester Tart-Offs’; craft beer tastings; cakes; ‘octogenarian cookery’; mushroom foraging and the MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards.

The full festival brochure, which can be downloaded here .

Some of the highlights…

Albert Square, 28 September – 8 October, FREE

A pop-up food village, open from 12noon – 11pm daily and what’s more its free.

Look out for the city’s best mix of street food traders (from Manchester and beyond), Vin Van Voom Wine bar, the CITYLIFE live music stage, the MFDF Live Cookery Theatre, an indie beer festival, a gin garden, wine tastings, pop up restaurants, masterclasses, workshops and more. There’s even two Hub Cocktail Bars this year.

Mayfield Depot, 29 September – 7 October, ticketed

Manchester’s abandoned railway station, and one of the city’s most jaw-dropping spaces, is the location for MFDF’s 20th birthday feasts.

Breathing new life into this forgotten space, Mayfield will be transformed for the Festival into an extraordinary dining room and party space. A unique, one-off chance to eat, drink and party in an awe-inspiring, historic, giant of a Manchester landmark.

Mayfield Depot
Mayfield Depot

MFDF Indie Beer Fest Festival Hub, 28 September-8 October, noon-11pm, Free

The festival beer bar will represent a non-stop, indie extravaganza of beautiful brews making this the ultimate 20th birthday beer fest. There will be 20 breweries showcasing their beers. Breweries include Brightside, Wildside, Ticketybrew, Black Jack, Runaway, Seven Brothers and the Manchester Brewing Co.

Alongside our local brews are the official beers of MFDF 2017, on tap throughout the festival. Shedhead, a 4.6% ABV American-style pale ale brewed in Sweden, and Brooklyn and Poretti lagers, from America and Italy respectively.

Friday 29 September – MFDF & Tampopo 20th Birthday Party

Independent Pan Asian restaurant, Tamopop, is 20 this year too. So it’s only fit for MFDF and Tamopop to party together. It will be a gastro delight with DJ sets from Graeme Park, music from Happy Mondays’ Rowetta.

Thursday 5 October – Hispi and The Refuge Meet The Unabombers.

A joint venture between food and drink innovator, Gary Usher, The Refuge and The Unabombers, this huge banquet-come-food party will bring together two of the hottest food brands in the north – The Refuge and Hispi – along with club pioneers The Unabombers as they DJ throughout.

Hipsi's Gary Usher
Hipsi’s Gary Usher

Saturday 7 October – Thomasina Miers: Day of the Dead

Mexican food entrepreneur Thomasina Miers brings a new gastro take on the infamous ‘Day of the Dead’ with a Mexican banquet…..

Festival Hub, Various Dates/Times, Free

Chef/founder of Randall & Aubin, Ed Baines: Cookery Demo and Q&A: Festival Hub: 29 September, 1pm.

Best known for his role as a judge on ITV’s hugely successful Britain’s Best Dish. He is hosting his own masterclass and Q&A session at the Hub, sharing some of the secrets of his legendary Soho brasserie, an offshoot of which has transferred to Manchester this year.

Award-winning cookery author and entrepreneur Ella Mills: Q and A/Book Signing of Deliciously Ella With Friends: Festival Hub: 30 September, 4pm.

Mowgli restaurant’s very own Nisha Katona: Cookery Demo & Book Signing: Festival Hub: 7 October, 12:30pm.

Watch Katona embark on her first MFDF cookery demo and pick up a signed copy of her new book  ‘The Spice Tree’.

Mowgli's Nisha Katona
Mowgli’s Nisha Katona

Former Masterchef winner and Mexican food expert Thomasina Miers: Cookery Demo & Book Signing: Festival Hub: 7 October 2pm.

She will be demonstrating recipes from her latest book “Home Cook by Thomasina Miers” and signing copies afterwards.

Manchester House chef Aiden Byrne: Cookery Demo – Festival Hub: 7 October, 3:30pm

The brother of Gok Wan, Kwoklyn Wan: Cookery Demo & Book Signing of his new book Chinese Soul Food. Festival Hub: 7 October, 5pm

Fever Tree Gin Garden and The Dark Spirit Den

Festival Hub, 28 September-8 October, noon – 11pm, free

Create your own bespoke, ‘ultimate’ gin and tonic with a host of gins available, all chosen to perfectly pair with the Fever Tree range of mixers. The Dark Spirits Den is new to the festival. Sample your favourite dark spirit to live entertainment from local musicians and songwriters from across Manchester.

The Big Indie Wine Fest

Manchester Hall is a Grade II listed building that has been transformed into a stunning and unique space. It will be hosting this year’s ‘Big Indie Wine Fest’ which returns as one of the most popular events at MFDF. With an extra special bonanza of independent wine merchants bringing the highest quality exclusive wine, this event is one not to be missed. Serving new wines from Croatia to independent French wines the event will also host a session of masterclasses including a wine tasting masterclass by the BBC’s Kate Goodman. will be showcasing Swiss, Austrian and Beaujolais will be showcasing Swiss, Austrian and Beaujolais

Cup North

Festival Hub, 1 October, noon – 6pm, FREE

Cup North, the people behind Manchester Coffee Festival will be popping up at the Hub to present a day of tasting, talking and learning. Inside the coffee tent there will be the opportunity to try and buy coffee from a range of local roasters including Heart & Graft, Ancoats Coffee Co. and Passionfruit. Visitors are invited to engage with a number of free talks and demos throughout the day, all aimed at bringing consumers closer to the world of professional coffee making.

Cheese and Ciderologist

Festival Hub, 4 October, 6:30pm, ticketed.

The one and only commercial cider maker in Manchester invites you to join him and his team for this MFDF special event. Join founder of The Moss Cider Project and new found friend Gabe Cook AKA The Ciderologist (Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch go-to cider guy) for an evening of pairings from near and far.

Wine v Beer

Festival Hub, 6 October, 7pm, ticketed

BBC star and founder of Reserve wines, Kate Goodman meets Cloudwater Beer boss Paul Jones. One of the key figures behind Manchester’s micro beer boom, Paul will be teaming up with Kate for the first time to host a fascinating evening exploring the cultural and gastronomic differences between wine and beer alongside the best food pairings for each.

The Manchester Tart Bake Off Festival Hub, Sunday 8 October, noon – 6pm, free

This happened in Year 1 and its back for the 20th celebration. The search is on to find the best Manchester Tart in Manchester. Enter your homemade creations so that the ultimate Tart of Manchester can be crowned! To enter, budding bakers and trainee tarts should email

On the judging day join us for the annual Forever Manchester Caketober Charity Bake Sale, all proceeds supporting community activity across Greater Manchester. If you would like to bake and donate your wares for the sale contact

MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards The Principal Manchester, 9 October, Ticketed

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival Gala Dinner and Awards will be taking place on the 9 October and will be returning to the beautiful and iconic Principal Manchester. The most prestigious

Champagne and oyster tasting with Randall and Aubin

Festival Hub, 28 September, From 7pm, Ticketed

Learn more about the decadent world of Champagne. Let Manchester’s newest French brasserie, in conjunction with HallgartenDruitt & Novum wines, enlighten you at an exclusive evening of bubbly and bivalves.

Randall and Aubie
Randall and Aubie

A journey through Spain with Iberica

4 October, From 6pm, Ticketed

Head master carver Sergio Escudero – a live carving demo of Jamón Ibérico while enjoying this delicacy with a glass of bone-dry Manzanilla. After these two welcoming treats enjoy head chef Nacho Llinares’ bespoke menu including tapas and a dessert to share, with Paella Valenciana as a main course. Valencian style is dry, with crunchy, caramelised socarrat – the team will show you how to scrape it from the pan bottom to unleash incredible flavours. To match these dishes– two special glasses of boutique Spanish wines.


The Koffee Pot, 8 October, Ticketed

Darren Goodwin (Grafene), Mary-Ellen McTague (Manchester Art Gallery Café), Richard Sharples (Hispi) and James Whetlor (Cabrito Goat Meat) are cooking a four-course menu using kid goat meat or dairy in every dish. It’s part of an entire month nationwide devoted to celebrating dishes made from male billy goats, which are usually discarded at birth as a waste product of the dairy industry.

Mary-Ellen Mctague Pic Credit Chris Payne
Mary-Ellen Mctague Pic Credit Chris Payne



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